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Coalition goes in to bat for general practice

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The Coalition last week released its election policy framework for health.

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said that the Coalition had delivered a strong package of practical, affordable health policies that would strengthen general practice, the cornerstone of quality primary health care in Australia.

Dr Hambleton said the Coalition had listened to the medical profession and responded with targeted funding that will build on successful existing general practices in local communities and help ensure a steady flow of medical graduates into general practice into the future.

“The Coalition has wisely chosen to invest in local GPs, the health professionals that most Australians choose to see first for quality health care and advice,” Dr Hambleton said.

“General practice delivers the greatest return for every health dollar invested.  Properly resourced and supported general practice keeps people well and out of hospital.

“The AMA called for more GP infrastructure grants for general practice and the Coalition has promised 175 grants at a total cost of $52.5 million.  The Australian National Audit Office has endorsed GP infrastructure grants as a far better investment than money going to failed and discredited GP Super Clinics.

“The AMA called for a doubling of the Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) from $100 to $200 to help local GPs teach medical students and encourage them to pursue a career in general practice, and the Coalition has delivered.

“The AMA has been lobbying long and hard for more intern places to meet growing demand from the increasing numbers of medical graduates, and the Coalition has promised 100 new intern places a year, which is a better package than the 60 places promised by Labor.

“We also support the review of Medicare Locals to ensure funding gets to frontline care.

“These promised measures will be warmly welcomed by Australia’s hardworking GPs who have been calling for greater support to help them meet increasing demand from an ageing population and more patients with chronic and complex conditions.

“Under these measures, patients can be confident of better access to quality primary health care from their local family doctor.”

Dr Hambleton said the AMA also welcomes Coalition commitments on bowel cancer screening and diabetes research, but urges the Coalition to at least match Labor’s funding promises for public hospitals.

You can read the entire Coalition health policy document at http://www.tonyabbott.com.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=DRbioW4-J0w%3d&tabid=86

John Flannery